Bevagna, art and poetry from the Middle Ages
Welcome to Bevagna, a wonderful medieval town in the province of Perugia, home to an ancient Umbrian population that fought off the Roman expansion – until they lost the famous Sentino battle (295 BC), together with their allies: the Samnites, the Senones and the Etruscans.
Bevagna is a treasure chest of artistic and architectural wonders, such as the Gothic Palace of the Consuls, which – with the Romanesque churches of Saint Michael and Saint Sylvester – contributes to the magnificent setting of Piazza Silvestri.
According to tradition, this is where Saint Francis gave his famous sermon to birds, recorded by Tommaso da Celano in his biography of the saint:
“While friars gathered, Francis walked across the valley around Spoleto. Once he reached Bevagna, he saw numerous birds of every species come together: doves, crows and wheatears […] ‘Brother birds, you must always praise your Creator very much, for he gave you feathers to cover yourselves, wings to fly, and everything you ever may need…”
Bevagna was also a favorite stop and resting place for poets and jesters – including Cenne della Chitarra, from Arezzo, who in his “crown of the months” replied to his colleague Folgóre da San Gimignano mentioning the town in his entertaining verses about “April”:
Di aprile vi do vita senza lagna:
tafani a schiera con asini a tresca,
ragghiando forte, perché non v’incresca,
quanti ne sono in Perosa o Bevagna
[“In April I give you a life you cannot complain about: / a cloud of horseflies fighting with donkeys / braying loud, if you don’t mind, / as many as there are in Perugia or Bevagna”].
Here is a taste of Bevagna, with a selection of beautiful images.